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Understanding the Function of Shutter Speeds

For any beginning student of photography, one of the most important aspects to comprehend is that of a camera’s shutter speed. Along with aperture and ISO, shutter speed is one of the three manual variables within a camera that controls the look and feel of a photograph. You have probably seen the shutter of a camera working in action before; it’s the small curtain made of metal or plastic that lies directly behind the glass of a lens and in front of a camera’s sensor.

Behind the glass of this lens, the mechanism of the camera’s shutter is visible.

What is shutter speed

Shutter speed simply refers to the amount of time a piece of film or a digital sensor is exposed to incoming light. The amount of light that reaches the film or sensor is directly correlated to the amount of time the shutter of a camera is left open. Because of this fact, the longer the shutter speed, the lighter an image will be; likewise, shorter shutter speeds result in darker images overall. For this reason, the setting of a camera’s shutter speed has a great impact on the outcome of a photograph

There are standard shutter speeds that are included on virtually every camera available for purchase. With each shutter setting, the amount of exposure time is roughly doubled or halved, depending on whether the photographer chooses increase or decrease the speed. Though shutter speed is generally measured in mere fractions of a second, the difference in a photograph between what seems to be a negligible amount of time can be dramatic.

Short shutter speeds can completely freeze action in place.

Shutter speed, more than a functionality?

Shutter speed has more uses to it than pure functionality. The length of a shutter speed directly correlates with the amount of motion captured within a still photograph. A short shutter speed can be used to completely freeze objects in motion in place. For this reason, short shutter speeds are often used in photojournalism and sports photography. Subjects such as a basketball player jumping in mid air can be suspended in place in poses that are impossible to hold.

Quick shutter speeds can even be used for scientific purposes to study movements that cannot be seen with the human eye. One of the earliest and most famous uses of high-speed photography can be seen in Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic experiment meant to examine the individual movements of a galloping horse. Today, the technique is used to produce slow motion sequences for both artistic and educational purposes.

Long exposures can be used to capture nightscapes and create incredible effects, such as star trails.

Long shutter speed

Long shutter speeds, on the other hand, inherently capture motion blur. Sometimes, this can be detrimental; getting a clear shot from a handheld camera with a shutter speed under 1/60 of a second is almost impossible. Therefore, photographers must be careful to either utilize a tripod or be wary of the shutter speed they’re using. However, there are some photographers that purposely utilize motion blur. Unlike fast shutter speeds, which perfectly hold a person in place, slow shutter speeds can be used to suggest the presence of movement. For instance, cars driving along a highway captured by a camera set to a slow shutter speed will appear as dramatic streaks as the camera captures the movement of the vehicles headlights. Though long shutter speeds may be technically troublesome, they are often used in the production of fine art imagery. Motion blur can even be further accentuated by panning the camera in the direction of the moving object, throwing the background into a blur rather than the object in motion.

Automatic settings

When taking photographs on an automatic setting, the camera makes a decision on what your shutter speed should be depending on the light in your surroundings. However, what the camera decides may not always be in line with what you have in mind for an image. This can be solved by simply going into the camera’s manual setting and adjusting the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO with the help of the DSLR’s internal exposure bracket. For photographers on the move, however, this option isn’t always wise; instead, you can switch to a setting known as shutter priority mode. This way, you can set your desired shutter speed and the camera will automatically adjust its aperture and ISO to create a well-exposed image.

Slow shutter speeds capture motion blur and can be used for artistic purposes to imply motion.

For customized long exposures, there are two settings that are important to take into consideration. The BULB (B) option keeps the camera’s shutter open for as long as you choose to hold down the shutter release button. TIME (T), on the other hand, keeps the shutter curtains open completely unattended, only closing once the shutter release is pressed down a second time. Using the BULB and TIME settings, it is possible to take exposure that last minutes or even hours. Even dark nighttime environments can be brought into view with the help of long exposure photography.

Mastering shutter speed is a process that takes quite a bit of time and practice to master completely. But with the above information in conjunction with camera manuals and resources available at the touch of a button, understanding shutter speed is easier than it ever has been.

The Potential of Natural Light; Harnessing Daylight in Photography

In today’s market, there are hundreds of strobes, diffusers, hand held flashes, reflectors, and other lighting supplies available for photographers to purchase. Each has their own set of merits and difficulties to overcome and can be used to produce gorgeous images. However, a photographer’s most helpful lighting tool isn’t available for purchase

The largest, most accessible, and least expensive light source available to any photographer is, of course, the sun. Anyone that’s been outside at the break of dawn or just before the sun peaks below the Earth’s horizon can attest to the rich, colorful tones that can be attained naturally. However, one thing that deters many photographers from using natural light alone is its inability to be fully harnessed and controlled. Atmospheric conditions and chance play a major role in the way sun shines upon a scene. However, by understanding the factors that go into natural light, it’s possible to predict the way light will reflect on an object and compensate to create whatever your ideal image may be.

Listed below are just a few factors to take into consideration when shooting with natural light:

1.) Consider your location in relation to the sun

It may seem obvious, but the look of an object changes drastically when exposed to direct sunlight as opposed to a more diffused setting. The easiest way to demonstrate this is by looking at something as simple as your hand and comparing the differences on how it looks in the shade in comparison to the sun. It quickly becomes apparent that direct sunlight creates harsh shadows and bright highlights. Meanwhile, the light that reaches subjects in the shade has far less contrast in tonality.

Windows work as a natural diffuser and often produce soft, flattering light

Keep in mind that utilizing natural light does not demand that a model and photographer be outside, directly underneath the sun. Often times, diffused window lighting can produce even, flattering light perfect for portraiture, product shots, and food photography

2.) Take a look at the time

Not all light is created equally. Several factors concerning the light change throughout the day. For instance, just as it would with any other light source, the placement of highlights and shadows changes drastically between midday, when the sun is directly overhead and evening, when the sun is closer to the horizon and hitting at more of an angle. In addition, color temperature of natural daylight fluctuates – later in the day, the sunlight is much warmer and the ambient light changes from a light blue to deep purples, oranges, reds, and yellows.

Although this model is primarily lit by natural daylight, a fill is used to bring out some of the folds in her dress that might otherwise be lost.

Some times of the day are generally regarded as prime shooting moments, while other times are generally avoided by image-makers at all costs. For instance, many photographers schedule shoots to align within the golden hour, or the hour just before the sun goes down. On the other hand, portrait shots are rarely scheduled outside between 12-3pm because of the dark, unflattering shadows that can distort a model’s appearance

3.) Check out the weather forecast

Just as location and time makes an impact on the outcome of an image, so too does the weather and atmospheric conditions. Unlike a bright sunny day, cloudy and overcast skies essentially work as a gigantic soft box, scattering light and minimizing shadows. So, have no fear if the sun decides not to make an appearance – it can actually work in your favor and create completely different yet equally appealing results

Keep in mind the way weather conditions could directly help or hinder your image. For instance, fog might add a foreboding and interesting layer to a foreground. Fresh snowfall on a sunny day may act as a natural reflector. Things such as raindrops resting on an object or fresh morning dew at the crack of dawn can be beautiful yet often overlooked details that enhance your image.

A model highlighted by bursts of sunlight breaking through the shadows.

4.) Play with highlights and shadows

With natural light, shadows are an inevitability. Rather than working around them, incorporate them into your frame. Light peaking through a canopy of leaves within a forest can create patches of light capable of highlighting certain areas of a model shrouded in shadow. Structures and objects can become infinitely more interesting when broken down by the graphic patterns of their shadow.

Take into consideration shadows cast by objects outside of the camera’s line of vision. Even something as simple as window blinds streaking across a model’s face can make a dramatic difference to the mood and composition of an image.

Shadows can add an interesting graphic element to any composition.

5.) Prevent loss of details

One of the biggest problems that many photographers face when attempting to utilize natural light, is properly exposing every area of the photo between contrasts, unexpected shadows. The trick is to use the tools around you to create fill light to lighten the darkest parts of an image without completely losing contrast.

One way of adding fill light to a scene is to simply use a white or mirrored reflector to bounce existing sunlight towards an area of the composition that is in desperate need of additional light. Another way of adding fill light is to use a supplemental artificial light in the direction of the shadows. Although you can use artificial lights to completely drown out what’s naturally there, working on a low setting can add just enough to keep everything well exposed while still highlighting beautiful natural light already within a scene.

Understanding File Formatting: Determining the Differences Between JPEG and RAW

A common misconception among individuals first starting out in the photographic field is that there’s not much to an image file. After all, why should something as arbitrary as format matter so long as the image it records is up to snuff?

The truth is, the file format you choose can have a large impact on what information the camera actually records and how it’s stored digitally. There are two main file formats generally utilized by photographers, called JPEGs and RAW respectively. Neither is perfectly equipped to handle all of the situations professional photographers find themselves in. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to understand some of crucial details that differentiate the two.

Using editing software, this photographer was able to recover details in the shadows of this image that might be discarded in a JPEG file

JPEG Files

Many tech savvy individuals are familiar .jpg files, even outside of photography. This is with good reason; it is the most commonly used image storage format employed by photographic imaging devices and digital cameras, as well as the most common type of file format used to transmit images across the internet. However, the vast majority of JPEG users could tell you very little about the nuances of the file, despite the fact that it has been in use since 1992. Even the acronym itself – which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group – is a bit cryptic.

What makes JPEGs such an excellent choice for recording photographs and subsequently transmitting them lies within the way the image is processed. Immediately after the shutter on the camera is released and the internal sensor records image information, the file is processed within the device itself. Automatically, layers of contrast, sharpening, and noise reduction are implemented over the photographic files. Colors are blended together for seamless image tonality, with the file eliminating the color pixels that it deems to be redundant. This subsequently cuts down on the overall size of the image file.

Because of the mechanisms that JPEGs implement without prompting, it is an appealing format for photographers that do not have the luxury of time to sit down and edit a photograph or may find themselves with a limited amount file storage space. Since the JPEG is easily interpreted between devices and is universally used in photographic sharing online, shooting straight to JPEG can make a lot of sense to those anxious for quick, easy to process results.

However, there are some major drawbacks for photographers working primarily in JPEG. As a “lossy” file, when the camera implements automatic filters and pixel blending techniques, original file information is thrown out and impossible to recover. Though a small file size can be helpful in long-term storage, it is not conducive to any sort of printing or large-scale display. What’s more, although the JPEG theoretically involves less attention in post processing, each time a photograph is adjusted and saved, the image file begins to degrade – even when set on the highest possible quality settings. Photographers using JPEGs risk damaging their images with the passing of time.

This photograph uses saturation and and selective coloring to highlight the effects of JPEG artifacting.

RAW Files

Unlike the JPEG, a RAW file is a lossless file. This means that it processes every piece of information received by the camera’s sensor and records it exactly as is without any sort of compression. Since the filters applied to JPEG files are not implemented in RAWs, at first appearance a RAW image may appear to be dull in comparison to its JPEG counterparts.

However, because the RAW records all of the details of a composition exactly as is, it is actually ideal for editing and can be used to create images with richer tonality and detail. In fact, details in bright highlights and dark shadows that are often thrown away in JPEG processing due to their similarities in tone can often be recovered when working with RAW files in post processing software.

The image on the left displays an unprocessed RAW image, while the image on the right shows the same image in JPEG format.

Although many professional photographers are attracted to the level of control and versatility that inherently comes with a RAW file, the format comes with its fair share of drawbacks and faults. Currently, RAW formats are proprietary to camera manufacturers, meaning that standards in what constitutes a file differ between brands like Nikon and Canon. Because companies are often making adjustments to the RAW file standard, they make bad candidates for any sort of long-term storage. What’s more, because of all of the information stored in a single RAW file, they quickly take up hard drive space and often must be relegated to external hard drives.

In addition, RAW files are not readable outside of software specifically equipped to process large image files. Instead, they must be converted into more accessible file formats such JPEG or TIFF through third party programs such as Adobe Photoshop to be shared and efficiently stored.

Most images shared on the web are formatted as JPEGs

The Verdict?

The fact of the matter is, you know better than your camera what it is that you need and want in a photograph. Because of this simple fact, many working photographers consider RAW to be the superior image file format due to its ability to record accurate image details. However, it is important to keep in mind that it may not always be the best choice in the context of your circumstances. Photographers expecting immediate, sharable results often lean towards shooting JPEGs in the field.

Still can’t decide which file format is right for you? Many modern day cameras have the option to record JPEGs and RAW files simultaneously. As an experiment, set your camera to this setting, snap a few shots and upload them to your computer. There, you can observe the differences between files for yourself to form a more informed, experience-based opinion.

Eight Essential Items Every Photographer Should Own

For any aspiring photographer hoping to take their interest to the next level, the right gear is essential. Camera bodies and lenses are the obvious first purchases in any photographic journey, but beyond that, the plethora of gear, gadgets, and accessories available can be overwhelming to any person without experience. For any individual struggling to navigate through the tens and thousands of products, we’ve narrowed it down to the essentials:

1.) The Right Software

Most professionals agree can that programs such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop are the most essential tool in any photographer’s arsenal. They provide the capability to organize, adjust, and correct any flaws within a digital file. Just about anything becomes possible when a photographer is equipped with a computer with the proper software installed. Whether the task is as complicated as repairing a damaged, antiquated negative or as simple as bringing your image’s exposure up by half a stop, you can count on the fact that there are programs readily available through every step of the editing process.

A Nikon Speedlight

2.) Speedlight Flashes

By definition, photography is the practice of drawing with light. Therefore, any tool that can help an artist manipulate and supplement existing light is a tool worth having. A speedlight can be used to create a variety of different looks. Most people are familiar with the practice of using a flash to directly light a dim environment. However, a flash can also be bounced off of a wall, ceiling, or reflector to create a softer, more diffused look. Adding a flash to a brightly lit outdoor scene may seem counterintuitive, but this can be an incredibly effective method of filling harsh shadows. For these reasons, a flash can completely modify the look and feel of a composition. Of course, there are plenty of light sources out there that can be used on set or in the field. However, a speedlight equipped with a sync cord is among one the most portable and manageable light sources on the market.

3.) A Sturdy Tripod

There’s nothing worse than an image being wrecked by unsteady hands. Luckily, a tripod can take all of the guesswork out of the equation by providing your camera with some stability while simultaneously freeing up your hands. Tripods are essential in long exposure photography as well as multiple bracketing exposures required for HDR images.

A CF and SD memory card side by side

4.) Plenty of Memory Cards

There’s no such thing as too much space when it comes to storing photo files. Carrying around spare SD or CF cards is among the easiest ways of ensuring that you won’t have to compromise a shoot. At some point, nearly every photographer is faced with a card full of images or, in the worst case, a card that’s corrupted. Rather than risking stopping dead in your tracks in the middle of a photo shoot, it’s easy enough to just keep spares in a carrying case small enough to fit inside of a pocket or purse.

5.) Cleaning Supplies

It’s no secret that camera bodies and lenses are far from inexpensive. To make them last for as long as possible, it’s incredibly important to perform simple routine maintenance on your device. Microfiber cloths similar to the kind used to polish a pair of reading glasses do an excellent job at wiping away dust, debris, and smudges. The sensitive internal sensor of the camera may also need a cleanse every now and then. Use caution when attempting to remove dust from the camera’s internal mechanism – using a bulb air-blower is a much safer method of cleaning inside rather than swabbing around with a contaminated cloth that may produce scratches.

A passport color checker in the studio

6.) Passport Color Checker

A color checker is the type of tool that can take any photographer’s work from amateur to professional almost instantaneously. By holding up the passport in a consistent lighting scenario, it’s possible to sample swatches in post processing to attain the perfect color balance throughout an entire shoot. While this may seem like a minor detail to focus on, color checkers are just one of the many tools out there that require minimal effort and can both cut down on processing time as well as create a better final result.

A roll of gaffer’s tape

7.) Gaffer’s Tape

This is not on par with the duct tape or scotch tape that you might be accustomed to. In the studio, something as simple as gaffer’s tape can make a huge difference. As one might expect, it is incredibly useful in strapping down moving variables on a scene, such as extension cords or paper backdrops. Pressure based, the adhesive attained with gaffer’s tape is incredibly strong. Yet, once pulled away, it does not leave any sticky residue behind – a major plus for anyone working with equipment worth thousands of dollars collectively. A roll of gaffer’s tape tucked away in a studio or backpack is one of the signs of an experienced photographer ready for any happenstance situation that may be waiting just around the corner.

8.) Hard Drives for Storage

People are quick to consider storage in the form of cases and bags when it comes to physical equipment. However, storage for less tangible image files can often be overlooked until the last possible moment. Consider purchasing a few external hard drives as a “home” for any files you’d like to hold onto – otherwise, they can easily fill up the internal hard drive of your computer and degrade its overall performance. In addition, external hard drives can easily be labeled and stacked away, making organization a breeze and retrieving an image incredibly simple.

Altering Perspective through the Photograph

Even the most banal object has the potential to be an interesting subject within a great photograph. Yet, sometimes it’s not immediately apparent with the naked eye how to best tackle an issue with your camera. When faced with a difficult composition the solution often time lies in simply taking a moment to see the scene a little bit differently. Here are a few tricks that can be used to help a photographer see the world from a different perspective.

Switch up which lens you use

A change of perspective can be as straightforward as changing which lens you choose to have attached to your DSLR. This is because each individual lens focal length has its own unique angle of view. For instance, macro and telephoto lenses can compress details and make objects appear closer to the camera than they actually are. Wide angled lenses, on the other hand, show a greater deal of the surrounding scene and exaggerate the distance between image elements.

With this information in mind, you can make photos that break the mold from what’s typically seen in traditional photography. For instance, a wide-angle lens used for a portrait can create a dynamic environmental image that engages an individual with a scene or setting. Though many photographers are tempted to use wide-angle lenses in landscape photography when capturing scenery, using longer lenses can be used to capture features far in the distance and exaggerate peaks, valleys, and other topographical details.

Specialty lenses such as tilt shifts can also be used to dramatically alter perspective and even create unusual changes in an images focal plane. In doing so, strategies such as throwing objects equidistant from the camera in and out of focus are suddenly made possible. A tilt shift can even make normal sized subjects appear miniature!

: Using compositional elements to frame your image can be used guide the viewer’s eye to your subject.

Utilize basic compositional elements to your advantage

Most artists know that visual elements such as line, shape, and tonality can work together to strengthen a photograph. So too can they be used to manipulate a viewer’s perspective of a scene. Framing main subjects based on the basic compositional elements can instantaneously strengthen an image and make it easier for the brain to process. An example of this might be the use of leading lines to guide a viewer’s eye to the focal point of a photograph, whether that particular subject happens to be resting just a few inches from the photographer or yards away from the camera.

Aiming the camera slightly upwards gives former president John F Kennedy a dignified, powerful appearance.

Playing with sizes can be used to “trick” the brain and create illusions that add depth to a photograph and force false perspective. Most people have seen photographs featuring tourists pretending to push over the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or holding the Eiffel Tower in the palm of their hand. Though we realize that the notion of a human being able to perform either of these feats is completely ludicrous, the photograph makes it as such. These are examples of false perspective in everyday images.

Using the right tools

Using the correct tools can be used to further manipulate an image and distort viewer perspective. At times, these effects can be undesirable. However, some photographers use imperfections to strengthen an image and create interesting compositional elements. One example that architectural photographers often struggle with is the optical illusion of a tall building appearing distorted when photographing up from ground level. Photographer’s hoping to correct this can use bellowed 4×5 cameras capable of shifting and “straightening out” the building. However, a more artistically inclined photographer might choose to switch to an incredibly wide fisheye lens to exaggerate the effect.

An example of forced or false perspective

Using the perspective to your advantage

When seeking out different perspectives, moving your own body and the camera can be the easiest and most effective solution. By simply shooting above from a bird’s eye view, looking at subjects from the ground up, or moving to a dramatic or unusual angle, it is possible to completely transform an image and create new meaning. Consider the implications of a camera towering down upon a portrait subject or tilted upwards so that the subject is towering over the camera instead. Looking down on a person might imply that the subject is weak or submissive. On the other hand, pointing upwards can make a model seem strong and powerful.

It’s important to keep in mind that changing the angle from which you shoot can directly impact the way in which light falls upon a subject. Be sure to keep an eye on the way highlights and shadows might be affecting your subject and avoid any sort of distracting tonality elements that might have resulted from a change in angle.

By changing your perspective and shooting downwards, you can utilize shadows as a graphical means of representing your subject.

On the flip side, the changes in light that come with switching positions can be used to your advantage. Aspects like shadow silhouettes and unusual shapes can come into play to add interest and intrigue to a photograph by simply kneeling down, climbing up, or stepping a few paces to the side.

A Guide to Choosing the Right Lens for your DSLR

Every aspiring photographer is anxious to get out into the world and start snapping shots. But, only after purchasing a DSLR does the inevitable question of “Which lens should I use?” come to many beginners mind. Sure, most cameras come with a standard kit lens, usually a zoom lens with a range along the lines of 15-85mm. While this is sufficient to learn the basics with, the limitations of a kit lens quickly become apparent when comparing the aperture and overall image sharpness capable of being attained by cameras equipped with higher quality glass

Navigating through the wide array of lenses available on the market can be intimidating, especially for an individual that may not fully understand the differences between varying lenses. Here are just a few guidelines to help you determine which lens is right for you:

A single top of the line Zeiss lens can run for thousands of dollars

What is your budget?

Unfortunately, photography is not an inexpensive medium. Lenses are no exception to that rule, and can be a major investment. The fact of the matter is; the range in lens prices is dramatic. Top of the line lenses can easily cost thousands of dollars, while standard models often sell for as low as $100. Before setting your heart on a specific make or model, decide how much you are willing to spend on a lens. Do some research to find out what the lenses that you would like to add to your repertoire would cost and compare prices between similar models made by different manufacturers. If you find that your heart’s desire doesn’t necessarily match up with the balance of your bank account, consider options such as renting a lens temporarily or buying a lightly used lens at a reduced price.

Photographer’s that rely on prime lenses must switch between lenses to change focal lengths

Prime or Zoom?

There are two types of lenses available to photographers – zoom lenses and prime lenses. Each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Most DSLR cameras are equipped with a basic zoom lens, capable of reaching different focal lengths depending on the desire of the photographer. Zoom lenses can have incredible range and are helpful in the field in that they can both close in on distant details and pan out to show expansive environments. However, well-made zoom lenses often run at more expensive prices than their prime counterparts. A prime lens often can attain low apertures unobtainable on zooms lenses, and often times they are able to process images a bit faster. The main problem that arises with a prime lens is the fact that its focal length is fixed – meaning that for any sort of change in perspective, it becomes necessary to switch out to a different lens.

Not every lens can attain such a low depth of field

Which lens is best suited to your needs?

One of the things that make choosing a lens most difficult is the fact that each has a different function. There is no definitive “best” lens on the market. What might be the perfect lens for a photographer focused on portraiture may be an awful choice for a photographer fixated on recording fast action, and vice versa. This does not make one lens better than the other overall – it’s just that each model has a different function better suited to some tasks over others. Consider your interests as a photographer and your goals as an artist. Take into consideration how factors such as angle of view and focal length versatility may or may not help or hinder your image making process. If you’re not sure about the mechanics of a lens and how they might affect your images, read reviews online and ask for advice from peers within the photo community. Prioritize your needs and choose a lens that would most benefit your photographic pursuits – which might not be the flashiest choice on the shelf.

Telephoto lenses compress and exaggerate far off details.

Look into the details

With the technology behind photography increasing at an incredibly fast rate, it’s important to look into the bells and whistles of a lens. For a photographer constantly on the move, the built in image stabilization included in many standard lenses is a necessity. However, for a studio photographer in a controlled environment, it might be a feature worth sacrificing. Some camera details may seem insignificant – for instance, a lens with a minimum aperture of f1.4 as opposed to a camera that can only reach f1.8. For many photographers, the extra ⅔’s of a stop is not appealing enough to justify the difference in cost between the two. However, for a photographer that frequently works in low lighting situations, it might be a detail that makes an incredible difference in their work.

Photography, like any form of art, is open ended. There are millions of possibilities for a mind equipped with a camera, regardless of the lens that may be attached to the other side. While choosing the perfect lens can be a purchase involving careful thought and research, in the end what matters most is making a decision that feels right to you.

A Photographer’s Guide to the Must-See Sights of New York State

Just thinking about New York evokes a rich array of thoughts and emotions. Of course, many immediately think of the hustle and bustle Times Square and Central Park, alive with neon lights and plenty of people. But just outside of city lines lies a world of diverse landscapes, individuals, and opportunities. The following list covers just a few things any photographer in New York should try to cross off of their bucket list, whether their visit lasts just a few days or for an entire lifetime.

A scenic view from Albany, NY

Wander city streets

Plenty photographers past and present, such as Diane Arbus, Weegee, Alfred Stieglitz, Garry Winogrand, and Nan Goldin, have made some of their most renowned work exploring the streets in the boroughs of New York City. Indeed, there seems to be something peculiar or interesting happening just around every street corner. But, believe it or not, there are actually 13 cities throughout the state of New York with populations exceeding 50,000 people. You may be surprised to learn about the unique beauty that smaller cities such as Albany, Utica, and Buffalo have to offer

A view from Minnewaska State Park in southeastern New York

Look into New York’s natural wonders

With an incredibly diverse landscape, New York is home to dozens of state parks marked for public conservation. Some are incredibly well known, while others are well kept secrets. Each has its own set of unique attributes, from the pitch pines and ice caves of Minnewaska to the bedrock gorges and falls of Letchworth. No matter where you find yourself in the state, it’s likely that there is an amazing photo opportunity lurking in the trees just around the corner at little to no cost.

Get to know local photography resources

Surrounded by the scenery of the Catskills, The Center for Photography at Woodstock lies snug in between a small row of restaurants and shops. Over the years, it has become renowned within the photographic community for its top quality educational workshops, frequent lectures series, and professionally curated gallery. Just a few hours north in Syracuse is Light Work, a non-profit organization with annual artist residencies, digital labs open to the community, and extensive collection of art. In New York City, photographers can find inspiration at the International Center for Photography or even the Museum of Modern Art.

The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY

Visit the George Eastman House

There’s a reason why Rochester, New York is known as the photography capital of the world. The corporate headquarters of Kodak, imaging professionals have flocked to the area for over a century. Though the heyday of film photography has past, The George Eastman Museum is a must see attraction for any student of the medium. Archivist and Conservationists around the world have worked together to create a massive film archive and teach the general public all about the history of photography. Alongside aging daguerreotypes and a slew of vintage cameras are contemporary works representing groundbreaking artists from around the world.

Explore the Adirondack Mountains

Rich with history and ancient geology, the Adirondacks have a magic to them that’s hard to resist. American artists have been inspired by the lakes, hills, trees, and wildlife of the area for hundreds of years. Even today, thousands of people spend their time sightseeing among the Adirondacks. Whether you prefer watching the actions of tourists in the villages and towns scattered across the area or prefer to spend your time in peaceful solitude, this destination is sure to leave you with images worth holding on to.

Aerial shot of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, NY

Check out Niagara Falls

On the border of New York and Canada lies the town of Niagara Falls, home to the eponymous epic body of water that has attracted sightseers to the area for decades. Though New York State has a wide variety of things every photographers should see, Horseshoe Falls hardly has comparison. Almost equally interesting is the culture that risen around the attraction – photographers such as Alec Soth have made fascinating work concerning the deteriorating tourist trap worth taking a look at.

The thing that truly sets New York apart from other states is its eagerness to please. There seems to be a little something of everything. From big city streets to tranquil meadows, the state as a whole simultaneously rich with history and on the cutting edge of photography. Aside from this list, there are hundreds of hidden gems waiting to be found. With all that it has to offer, it’s hard to feel disappointment in this diverse, incredible setting.

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Of A New Sports Photographer

Now and then we can see new photographers that are trying to get their big break in the industry. There will be a lot of struggle, but with patience, they will eventually get the success they are looking for. There are just some things that we need to avoid most especially if we are new in the field. Here are the most obvious mistakes that new sports photographers need to avoid. Check it out.

1.    Stop chimping

In sports photography, your focus should be constant all throughout the game and even after the match has ended. Checking the shots you’ve taken will just keep you out of sync. There is nothing wrong if you want to check the pictures but make sure that you would do that after you have covered the game. You can miss some golden moments while you are browsing the photos.

2.    Don’t use flash

In sports photography, flash is not something that you need to use. You will just end up as the laughing stock of everyone if they can see you using it whether it’s indoors or outdoors. It is because there are already lights available, so you just have to be creative and take advantage of it. Also, the flash of a camera can distract the players, so it is not allowed most of the time.

3.    Refrain from Full Automatic Mode

If you are new in the field, setting up your camera on a full sports automatic mode is usually done. It’s not something wrong, but if you can opt to do it at least half in manual mode, there will be a better chance for you to mix and match the brightness, focus and other components of a picture.

If you can make sure to avoid these three common mistakes, people won’t even know that you are just starting your career in the sports photography industry.

The 3 Effective Ways On How You Can Improve Your Sports Photography

Having the best camera doesn’t make you the best photographer. You can still be criticized for taking a lot of crappy photos most especially if you are into sports photography. You would need a lot of practice and exposure to get the hang of it. Some ways can help you, though. Here are the helpful ideas on how you can improve your sports photography.

1.    Learn the sports

If you want to be a specialist in the field of sports photography, it is a must that you learn the kind of sports you are covering. If you just show up in a game where you know nothing about it, your photos will surely be crap. There is no way that you can capture the right moments if you don’t even know the essence of the sport.

2.    Be the critic of your work

We have all heard other people who will look at the pictures we took and leave some comments about it. Some things will imply a negative comment about it, but we should take it constructively. Aside from that, it is best if you can learn to criticize your work. You should learn to check what the other areas you can improve and why is your photo not the best.

3.    Step away from the crowd

Take advantage of the situation if you can move to the venue. There are times that a photographer only has a designated area so if there is a chance to move away, pick the side where you are alone. It will provide a different perspective with the pictures that you will take.

These are the three best ways to improve your shots. Take advantage of it and make sure that the next time you will be covering a game you will have all these three ways in mind. It can help you create beautiful photographs.

The Top 3 Tips To Follow If You Want To Capture Sports Photos Like A Pro

Sports photography is one of the hardest pictures to take. It’s because everything is in constant motion, so you need to have the perfect timing all the time. Whenever we see images taken by professional sports photographers, we can’t help but be amazed on how they can capture the best moments. Here are some effective tips that you can follow if you want to capture those photos like a professional.

1. Use high ISO

We all know that the game won’t stop so we can take the pictures. If you want to capture the best moment in every game you are covering, it is best if you can use a camera with high ISO. It will help you do consecutive shots so you can get the perfect moment.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something different

As a photographer, you need to be imaginative all the time or else people will lose interest with the images you produce. There has to be uniqueness in your work to make sure that you will not be stuck on the traditional way of taking photos. You can try different angles for a better result.

3. Be mindful of the surroundings

It is already a given but let me just reiterate it. The crowd cheering for their favourite players can tell a thousand stories if you can capture them in their most triumphant state. The people in the background can easily tell the tale if the game is on fire without even taking pictures of the actual game.

If you can incorporate these three tips on your photos, there is no doubt that the photos you will produce will be just like the ones taken by the professionals who already have years of experience in the industry. Follow it and be a pro yourself.